Student Voice


February 6, 2023


Light Rain


Life is absurd, revolt against suicide

November 21, 2014

On Aug. 11, I was following my daily exercise routine at my home when I took a break for five minutes before continuing my intense workout.

I had my phone with me, and I check it very often. Unsurprisingly, I received a text message from a great friend of mine. I opened the text and it wasn’t the usual common courtesy. It was an instant message that surprised me and left me unconscious of my intense workout: “Billy. Robin Williams passed away.”

Obviously, I felt lost, confused and I couldn’t decide if I wanted to cry. Honestly, I didn’t know if I was filled with sorrow. It would soon consciously punch me in the face that the actor who brought monumental characters and laughter left the world due to suicide.

As a philosophy minor, I was intr duced to a French writer, Albert Camus, who introduced to existential philosophy a new thought: absurdism.

According to Camus, life is meaningless and suicide is a “confession” that life is not worth living. It is a choice that implicitly declares life as “too much.” Thus, suicide offers the most basic way out of absurdity. This philosophy is a pessimistic approach to viewing life. However, it offers a solution: you are free to give life a meaning by recognizing the absurdity.

Again, according to Camus, you can “revolt” against suicide and search for meaning to life; and you have the “freedom” in which you lack imprisonment by religious devotion or other’s moral codes; and you have the “passion” in which you can live life to the fullest.

We all have seen the darkness when the light was absent, which led us to find our results as meaningless, and our sole escape to end our lives.

Fortunately, the light can be found if we reach out to turn on the light switch. I believe our lives are absurd, but we can always give our lives the greatest meaning. That is our greatest living.

Comedians such as Louis C.K., Jim Carey, Drew Carey and Williams have seen the gloom in the world, but the greatest meaning they have provided for the world was laughter. A laugh in the absurd world we live in and that we shouldn’t be afraid.

We may discover a blank white canvas, but the greatest approach to providing light to our lives is to paint our meanings on the canvas. There may be no meaning to our lives, and it can be a depressing truth. However, you must revolt against the idea of the easy escape. You have the freedom to choose what values you want to live by, and passionately live your life to the fullest.

I promise you I’m not pretentiously acting as a counselor, but I have met friends who either considered suicide or have left the world peacefully and I’m willing to be part of the awareness and voice to support those in need. I too have considered suicide, for I once believed the world had left me empty handed with no meanings. Many people have struggled with losing a loved one, caught a dreadful disease, lost their life trajectory or have been released from a long-relationship, only to discover that time is painful and every destination you arrived has no signs of improvement. We must give ourselves time to grow; and to use an analogy, a student needs time to learn Algebra before they can move on to calculus.

In the words of Dan’s Bandana Project: “I will listen if you need to talk to someone, I will talk to someone if I need to be listened to. I will help you find a counselor when you need more than listening. I will find a counselor when I need more than to be listened to.” And remember: when there is a sunset, there is also a sunrise.

Billy Thao is a student at UW-River Falls.